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Nurses, Woman Meet Again at Mall--Happlily This Time

Posted February 15, 2007

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— Three women were shopping at Cary Towne Center on the day after Thanksgiving, one of the busiest shopping days of the year. They met because two were nurses and the third was a heart attack victim.

Thursday, the three women met formally for the first time. It was an emotional reunion.

“It's good to be here. How you doing? I'm doing OK,” Mary Pierce told the nurses. She is glad to be anywhere after her collapse.

“I'm alive and well, thanks to my saviors,” Pierce said.

Nurses Kim Cox and Melissa Phillips, who work together at Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital in Dunn, said they just happened to be at the mall that day.

They saw Mary Pierce on the floor, unconscious, not breathing and with no pulse. They performed CPR until an ambulance arrived.

“When we left (the mall) that day, we had no idea she would ever make it,” Phillips said. “And to see her up and walking, it was definitely God's will for us to be where we were.”

The two women were honored in December for quick action that saved a perfect stranger's life that day. Thursday, 2½ months later, the three women were face-to-face for the first time and no longer strangers.

“It's almost like we've known her our whole life. We've learned all about her, her son, her family, what she did for a living—same thing with us,” Cox said.

“We saw her at her worst, and we had a heartfelt desire to help her. And when we did, we automatically had a connection,” Phillips explained.

“It's a blessing that it happened where it did, because they were going into that store, and if they had been someplace else in the mall, that probably would have been it,” Pierce said.

“I'll be saying ‘thank you’ to them for the rest of my life,” she added.

Mary Pierce will be 80 in two weeks. She has a rebuilt heart and a defibrillator. She said she hopes to return to her daily 2-mile walks once she regains the weight she lost after the heart attack. Until then, she said, she's exercising at home.

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